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<i>The Living Church</i> reports on the Special Commission
The Confessing Reader ^ | 9/22/2005

Posted on 09/23/2005 7:12:14 PM PDT by sionnsar

The Living Church has published an article on the newly-announced Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, noting this heretofore undisclosed information:

Dean Werner said he and Bishop Griswold agreed to strike a balance in size with a commission comprised of four bishops, four other clergy, four lay persons, and two with “special gifts” to contribute. Unlike in Denver, probably not all of the commission members announced today will be appointed to the legislative committee that is charged with introducing and sometimes rewriting the resolution once convention opens. That committee will be announced later, Dean Werner said. He explained there will be some carry-over appointments to ensure continuity, but there may also be some new persons added to include fresh thinking as well.

Why not have appointed the brightest and the best to this commission in the first place, regardless of how many members that would have been, and charge this commission with the task of writing a resolution as well? This seems terribly poor stewardship to me, to say nothing of the poor stewardship of excluding such conservative theologians as Ephraim Radner (probably the best thinker in The Episcopal Church and likely in the Anglican Communion, and certainly our best ecclesiologist), Philip Turner, and Bishop Fitzsimons Alison; of excluding conservative experts in canon law like Charles Nall; and of excluding conservative bishops (including retired bishops) who have continued to enjoy the benefits of full communion with all the provinces of the Anglican Communion in a way that The Episcopal Church at large has not.

I also do not understand the desired distribution of members - four bishops, four clergy, four laity - which is purportedly the source of the commission’s “balance”. By my count there are four bishops, seven other clergy, and three laity (excluding the Presiding Bishop and Dean Werner, the one a bishop and the other a cleric). Presumably the two members “with special gifts” (but see below) are two of the three academics clerics on the commission. Even by their own claims, this commission is not balanced.

There is no question, what with there being little balance of theological viewpoints (no, say rather of theological worldviews) and a snubbing of representation from three provinces of the Church, including the most conservative province (VII), that the membership of this commission has been so selected as to advance an agendum and not to dispassionately, critically, and acutely examine the ecclesiology and canon law underlying and informing the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the other Churches of the Anglican Communion. Good stewardship would have demanded the selection of the best The Episcopal Church could offer, in terms of theological acuity and insight, understanding of canon law, and of episcopal, clerical and lay leadership. Simply divvying up the members among the “orders” of ministry is foolish and represents a decision made on false understandings of democratic representation.

So instead of a commission chosen on the basis of the best that The Episcopal Church can offer in terms of theological insight and ecclesial leadership (which is not to slight the accomplishments or intelligence of any particular

members), we have a commission chosen on the basis of false representation and theological tendentiousness. Given the theological tendencies - or outspoken theological positions - of some of the members, or their lack of credentials compared with such other members of the Church as noted above, the apparent bases on which the members have been chosen (with one or two exceptions) have to do with “sharing stories” as persons with homosexual orientation and life or with support for the direction The Episcopal Church has already struck in defiance of the wider discernment of the Communion.

The way that the commission has been constituted would suggest that they have been charged in actuality with producing an ex post facto defense of our actions, perhaps in keeping with the rehashed rationalizations of “To Set Our Hope on Christ”, with nothing to suggest our need to submit to the common and wider discernment of the Churches of the Communion, or indeed to return to the historical (canonical and prayerbook) teaching of The Episcopal Church.

And if they produce only a palimpsest of “To Set Our Hope”, then once again I will ask, was this not terrible stewardship?

On more matters than one, the leadership of this church will be called to give an account to the Master.

Update: Brad Drell, commenting on this news from The Living Church

regarding a second commission or legislative committee for the drafting of resolutions related to the work of the Special Commission, wonders whether this was the idea before or after the Confessing Reader broke the story earlier than 815 intended and Brad Drell (among others) “went ballistic” over the roster of membership of the Special Commission.

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Virtue on the stacked commission

September 22nd, 2005

David Virtue has a brief rundown on the theological positions of the members of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

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ENS vindicates the Confessing Reader

September 21st, 2005

Brad Drell has posted an Episcopal News Service article on the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and reports on some background research he has done on the positions of a few members of the commission.

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No word yet from ENS

September 20th, 2005

As of this writing, the Episcopal News Service has not posted any news at their website about the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

If when they publish a roster of the members of the commission, there are differences with the roster I published below, I will be the first to publish those variances. But I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the information that I received.

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Vexation without representation

September 20th, 2005

Grand Union Flag (

Brad Drell has noted the absence of members of dioceses in Province VII (the province with the largest number of Network bishops) and comments on the way in which the deck appears to have been stacked.

Karen B. of Lent & Beyond comments on the absence of representation from Province IX, the Caribbean and Latin American dioceses of The Episcopal Church.

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TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 09/23/2005 7:12:15 PM PDT by sionnsar
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